The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) yesterday threatened to embark on a nationwide strike should the federal government go ahead to implement the report by the committee on the Needs Assessment of Nigerian Public Universities.
The National Vice-President of SSANU, Alfred Jimoh, disclosed this in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, at a public lecture organised on the report at the University of Ilorin.
Jimoh, who is also the Chairman, Western Zone of the association, said the needs assessment report contained recommendations that non-teaching staff in public universities should be downsised.
“The Professor Mahmud-led committee also suggested that a situation whereby the number of non-teaching staff is more than the teaching staff in Nigerian universities is an aberration,” he said. Jimoh, who said the report which the committee constituted without a member of non-teaching staff “could not have done anything better than to exhibit age-long disdain for the non-teaching staff in the system as exemplified in the report, thereby putting non-teaching staff job on the line.
He said: “Suffice it to inform that the unemployment market in Nigeria may be witnessing another increase if the federal and state governments are deceived into laying off the non-teaching staff in Nigerian universities under the guise of ‘halting artificial growth in the system.”
The union leader said: “It is a norm to have more non-teaching staff in the university than teaching staff,” added that there could not be any meaningful academic activity such as qualitative teaching and research as contained in the nature of job and services provided by non-teaching staff.”
However, in a lecture presented by the Principal Register of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Abdulsobur Salaam, he said most universities in the world have higher number of non-teaching staff than teaching staff, except those pursuing online programmes which only need small number of non-teaching staff.
Salaam also said cumulative salary of teaching staff in most Nigerian universities was higher than that of non-teaching staff who have larger numerical number than the teaching staff.
The non-teaching staff unions (NAAT, NASU, SSANU) also said the report of the committee on Needs Assessment of Nigerian Public Universities should be dismissed and rejected, as they refrained their members from associating with any parts thereof.